Sunday, November 9, 2014

'We stacked them like a grill': Cartel hitmen tell how they burned 43 students alive - after mayor's wife demanded they be 'taught a lesson' for interrupting her speech in Mexico

Jose Luis Abarca, who was previously mayor of Iguala, left, and his wife Maria de los Angeles Pineda right, were found and arrested in Mexico City on Monday and are believed to have masterminded the massacre
Jose Luis Abarca, who was previously mayor of Iguala, left, and his wife Maria de los Angeles Pineda right, were found and arrested in Mexico City on Monday and are believed to have masterminded the massacre
  • Three Mexican gang members reenact burning alive 43 students
  • They use twigs and bags to show how bodies were thrown and shot
  • One says the victims - many still alive - were layered in lines 'like a grill'
  • Gang leaders ordered them to find plastic to keep fire burning 15 hours 
  • They later waded into the ashes to remove remaining teeth and bone 
  • So far 70 people have been arrested including former mayor and his wife
  • Mayor 'demanded that the police taught a lesson to the students'
  • He was concerned they were to interrupt a speech by his wife 
By Mia De Graaf and Chris Spargo for MailOnline and Reuters

Three men charged with burning alive 43 Mexican students ahead of a speech by the mayor's wife have chillingly reenacted the horrific massacre for investigators.

Footage released by the Attorney General shows the suspects using twigs and trash bags to explain candidly how they layered the victims 'like a grill' before bathing them in gasoline and setting them alight.

Their voices are cold and unemotional as officers follow them through the rubbish dump where every single victim was shot, killed and dumped in a river near Iguala in Guerrero State.

Gestering in handcuffs, one in a high visibility jacket is sat in the police station as he confirms reports that the students were targeted en route to protesting at a speech made by Mayor Jose Luis Abarca's wife.

Abarca allegedly demanded that the students be 'taught a lesson' so they didn't interrupt the event. 

He tells investigators: 'They came in the biggest truck. They asked them who they were, and they all responded that they were students.

'So they took them down and asked them why they had come to Iguala, and they said they had come for Abarca's wife.'

Another takes the investigators to the scene, using plastic bags as props.

He dumps one on the dirt, saying: 'They let them drop like that. The students stood up and then they would walk like this [bending with his hands behind his head].'

The alleged gang member shows how they were then pushed to the ground and shot.

Those that died instantly were then dragged by their hands or legs into one pile and the living into another.

The 43 students, pictured, went missing as they travelled to a protest in Iguala, Guerrero State, September 26

Brazenly, one suspect then mimes how all the victims were swung into a landfill one at a time by two gang members.

'The bodies would roll until they reached the flat part,' a third suspect chilling recounted in a monotonous voice.

Nearby, they built a circle of rocks and put tires in the middle, he explains.

On top of the tires, they put firewood.

All 43 bodies were then layered on.

'In the beginning, the bodies would be placed like this,' he said, scratching lines into the ground using a stick.'Like a grill'.

A second layer of victims would then be placed over them at a perpendicular angle, followed by another layer - 'until all the bodies fit'.

Two members - named as El Huassaco and El Deva - stood at either end of the pile and 'bathed the grill of bodies with diesel and gasoline'.

Desperate to hide all trace of their victims, the men were then scrambled to find bottles and plastic to put on the fire to stop it from extinguishing.

They left with the fire still burning and came back to clean with trash bags and bottles to pick up the charcoal and bones, the suspects said.

When their truck arrived at the San Juan bridge a gang leader identified as 'El Turco' allegedly told the group to deposit the bags, making small holes in them so the remains were lost in the water. 

So far, 19 mass graves have been discovered around Iguala and more than 70 people have been arrested.    
The 43 students have not been seen since they disappeared near the southern city of Iguala on September 26 after being attacked by police.  

Attorney General Jesus Murillo Karam said: 'The high level of degradation caused by the fire in the remains make it very difficult to extract the DNA that will allow an identification.'

The bone fragments are being sent to Austria to a specialist laboratory for DNA testing. 
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